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Notes from the barn at Oaklawn | Sports & Recreation

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Notes from the barn at Oaklawn
Notes from the barn at Oaklawn

HOT SPRINGS, AR (Oaklawn Press Release) -- Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Streaking Gleaming Seeks American Beauty Crown for First Stakes

With four straight wins in Oklahoma, it’s time for Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch’s Gleaming to step up the competition level with a start in Sunday’s $50,000 American Beauty Stakes for female sprinters at Oaklawn Park. Coming from the barn of 2010 champion female sprinter Dubai Majesty, who was retired following her victory in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, the 4-year-old daughter of Dehere has big shoes to fill.

Trained by Bret Calhoun, Gleaming didn’t get her career started until last summer at Remington Park. The Oklahoma-bred built on a third-place finish in her debut to roll into her four victories, three of them in state-bred races. She won an allowance Dec. 8 in her first attempt in an open race, and now her connections are looking to climb the ladder again.

“She’s been with us since December and has a great series of works for us,” said Kristin Crawford, chief assistant for Calhoun’s Oaklawn string. “She looks like a colt. She’s a big stocky thing and this is what’s next.”

Gleaming is out of the mare Cupid’s Comet, a hard-knocking sprinter who earned almost $400,000 through 69 starts. Calhoun claimed her for John R. James out of her last start in 2003. The James Revocable Trust is the breeder of Gleaming.

Crawford also reported Sanders and Hirsch’s Grant Jack, who finished last of seven in the Smarty Jones Stakes here Monday as one of the favorites, will get some adjustments to his training before his next race.

“I’m going to have to gallop him between horses and get him used to having horses around him when he’s out there,” said Crawford. “In his best races, he started on the outside and was able to stay out of trouble. When he was more toward the inside Monday he just wanted to get himself out of there. The blinkers can help, but we need to just get him more comfortable.”

Crawford did not specify what Grant Jack’s next race might be.


Afleet Deceit to Get Second Shot at Pippin Weather Permitting

William Stiritz’s Afleet Deceit has been pointed to Saturday’s $75,000 Pippin Stakes at Oaklawn Park, but two weeks of dicey winter weather might force her trainer to sit out the 1 1/16th-mile contest for older fillies and mares.

“It’s going to depend on how much we get to train the next few days,” said trainer Scott Becker Wednesday morning. The weather forecast for Hot Springs calls for rain changing to sleet and snow Thursday. A stronger winter storm last week forced the track to close for training for four straight days and led to the cancellation of the scheduled Opening Day card last Friday.

Afleet Deceit, a 5-year-old daughter of Northern Afleet, was fifth in the Pippin Stakes last year over a sloppy track. The Kentucky-bred is best known for finishing second to 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the Fantasy Stakes (G2), albeit nearly nine lengths behind the budding superstar that day.

Despite the last place effort last year, a wet track isn’t considered an obstacle for Afleet Deceit. Her most recent win came in an allowance race moved from the Indiana Downs turf to the sloppy main track last June. According to Becker, the weather on race day isn’t the problem. It’s been the weather getting ready for race day.

“We missed an important work with her last week, so we’re a bit behind,” said Becker, who sent Afleet  Deceit through a breeze Monday morning, going a half-mile in 51 3/5. “Everything is good with her. It’s just a matter of what we can do Thursday and Friday that will determine if we can go or not.”

Entries for the Pippin – one of the first steps leading to $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) on April 15 – will be taken Thursday morning.

Quick Notes

Trainer Jinks Fires reports his two starters in Monday’s $100,000 Smarty Jones Stakes emerged from the race decently and will keep the Feb. 21 $250,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) on their agenda.

Patricia Blass’s Bluegrass Bull, third to Caleb’s Posse in the one-mile trial for 3-year-olds on the road to the Arkansas Derby (G1), was doing fine, while Robert Yagos’s Archarcharch, fourth at even-money, got quite a bit out of his first effort around two turns.

“Archarcharch really came back tired,” said Fires. “He should have really legged up for next time in there.”

Fires also noted Winquest Thoroughbreds’ Supreme Ruler, a winner in his debut in a maiden race Saturday afternoon, will continue through the allowance race ranks with a hopeful eye on stakes later in the season.